James Boyle’s Horses To Follow – Week Twenty-Nine
Nothing to shout about in the past week with only three HTF representatives lining up. Astracad dropped back to 2-miles at Cheltenham and it patently didn’t suit, as he couldn’t hold an early pitch and ended up towards the rear before very long. Added to that, he got hampered by a couple of fallers and all things considered I think he ran a fair race. A return to further will suit and I want to see him running at Aintree.
Drop Out Joe made his second start over fences on Saturday but was taking on the likes of Kings Palace and the fact that he was a 25/1 shot in a five-runner field spoke volumes. He had no chance of getting involved up against more naturally talented animals, and was under pressure a long way out, but did run all right to finish in third place (albeit beaten a long way) and will have more realistic targets in the future.
I mentioned last week that Golden Chieftain falling at Wincanton could be disasterous in the long term given the possibility of it lessening his confidence over fences and that’s how it panned out for him at Cheltenham having had a quick turnaround. He was never going fluently, didn’t jump with any purpose and finished his racing having been pulled up. It could be time to give up, but I’ll (perhaps stupidly) persist for one more run.
HTF representatives with entries this coming week; Monsieur Chevalier & Secret Witness.
Flat out! Adding a couple to the list this time around. One chaser, one sprinter. Both remain capable of better in my opinion and can win something decent over the winter.
Horses To Follow – Week Twenty-Nine:
Indian Castle (15th November) –
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of the toughest handicap chases around and although this year’s renewal was far from vintage, there were plenty of those who finished beaten that could be taken forward. Indian Castle only managed an eleventh placed finish and was 21-lengths behind at the line, but I thought that he ran an encouraging race and there’s every chance that he’ll improve plenty next time. It was his first run for Ian Williams since leaving Donald McCain, so the trainer is going to know more, whilst it was his first run since the Cheltenham festival in March and that told. He travelled and jumped fine, but when asked to stretch late in the day the response was limited and he ran like one who was in need of a good blowout. If that is indeed the case, he’s going to do a lot better before long and I think that he’s a well-handicapped animal off 140. Testing ground suits best and in the longer term, I would imagine that he’ll get 3-miles without problem. All we have to hope for is that he can show his previous form with his new trainer. It’s an unknown but it is likely.
Polybius (15th November) –
We’re starting to see the All-Weather get underway properly and on Saturday there was a decent Listed sprint over 6f at Lingfield, with it being a fast track qualifier to the final on Good Friday next year. The favourite, Intransigent, ended up winning and did so by a cosy neck from a French raider, but it’s the third placed runner Polybius that I’m most interested in going forward and hopefully he’ll be able to step up again in the near future. As a lightly-raced 3-year-old, it’s unlikely that we’ve seen the best of him as of yet and I have been most impressed with his last two outings on the All-Weather. On the first occasion, he ran out an extremely impressive winner of a decent Kempton handicap and showed a rapid change of gear, whilst at the weekend I’m willing to upgrade his effort on account of the draw not being kind (stuck out in the widest stall) and the track not being completely ideal for him. Kempton probably suits better, for the moment at least, but I’m happy to keep him on side at either venue and do think that he could develop into an even better sprinter soon.
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